Funding Keeps Dog Park Pitch on Leash

Dog parks may be the chic new thing in trendy pockets of Dallas, but not too many can be found in Preston Hollow. City Council members Lee Kleinman and Jennifer Gates would like to change that — if they can get the money.

Kleinman, who sat on the city’s park board for five years before taking his seat at the horseshoe, first thought of the idea.

“We always struggled with the lack of green space in North Dallas,” he said. “I have always looked for opportunities to provide green space for our residents.”

He credits working on the Northaven Trail — part of which used to be an Oncor easement — as opening his eyes to new possibilities.

“That made me realize any open space can become a park,” he said.

So where do you put a dog park in Preston Hollow? Kleinman and Gates have their eyes on a plot of land at Forest Lane and Nuestra Drive. The roughly three-acre site used to be home to the Korean Young Nak Presbyterian Church, but the city purchased the land in 2011 and leveled the property.

The city intends to rebuild the Preston Royal Library at the site, but not until funding is secured, which won’t happen until at least a 2017 bond package.

“I figured, in the meantime let’s make use of the space,” Kleinman said.

Technically, the site falls under Gates’ district, so she was quick to jump on board as well.

“Most people seem to be supportive,” she said. “The challenging part is the money.”

The city doesn’t have any funds allocated or available for such a project, so Kleinman and Gates are eager to find commercial or private funding opportunities. They’re even open to the idea of commercial partnerships with pet-industry companies.

“We don’t have any real leads on it,” Gates said. “No one’s come forward yet.”

Gates said the site itself is in decent shape for a repurposing. There are concrete areas for dog runs and plenty of green space for pets and owners to roam.

The estimated cost to transform it completely sits at around $230,000 when you take elements such as signage, drinking fountains, turf, and fencing into consideration.

And of course, the project is only considered temporary, until the library rebuild takes more shape.

“There are lots of dog owners in North Dallas,” Kleinman said. “They want opportunities for their pets to play with others. Comments like ‘how soon’ are common.”

Kleinman and Gates would like to see community meetings and an advocacy group develop if the project is able to move forward with funds.

“Depending on the success, it could give us an idea of interest for a permanent dog park after the library,” Gates said. “It’d be really exciting if it was a for-sure thing.”

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